Red cabbage is healthy, thrifty and robust, so why it remains such an underrated ingredient is beyond us. Part of the problem may be that the tightly-packed sphere yields so many layers it’s sometimes hard to know how to use up a whole one. We’ve put together some red cabbage recipe ideas for you, from festive side dishes to standalone meals.
How to prepare red cabbage
- Choose the best red cabbage by selecting one that feels heavy, is bright and has crisp leaves. Avoid any that have puffy leaves or outer layers removed.
- Red cabbages are easy to prepare. Strip off the outer leaves, wash, then slice into quarters, cut out the hard central core on each, then chop or shred.
- Lock in the colour by adding a touch of vinegar when cooking red cabbage in water. This stops the lovely deep purple hue from running.
- Don’t be too heavy-handed with red cabbage. A lot of its frumpy reputation comes from it being over-pickled or boiled for an eon. Although it’s a sturdy vegetable it’s not invincible…
- Go raw. Lock in nutrients by eating your cabbage uncooked in salads. Just make sure you slice it very finely.
Our top 10 red cabbage recipes…
1. Pickled red cabbage
Shop bought red cabbage can sometimes be too sharp and vinegary. Our homemade version uses less abrasive cider vinegar. As it keeps for a month, it makes a nice addition to a Christmas hamper.
2. Chinese braised red cabbage
Red cabbage can handle heavy flavours. This braised side dish teams it with star anise, soy sauce and ginger. It’s a great alternative dish for the Christmas dinner table.
3. Mulled red cabbage with clementines
Enjoy all the flavours of everyone’s favourite festive tipple in this superheathy side. Snuggle a clove-studded clementine into your cabbage during cooking for some real winter warmth.
4. Festive red salad
This vibrant side requires no cooking. It works particularly well on a buffet table situated in close proximity to a homemade ham.
5. Red cabbage with apples & star anise
Apples and red cabbage are natural partners. This braised dish is laced with cinnamon and bay leaves too.
6. Slow-cooked pork & red cabbage
Speaking of good pairings, red cabbage works beautifully with all things pig, whether served alongside a pork pie, crispy belly pork or cold cuts of gammon. This hearty one-pot uses pork shoulder.
7. Rosemary braised red cabbage with kabanos
Make red cabbage the main feature in this brightly coloured one-pan supper. Kabanos are long, thin Polish sausages with a unique texture, a little like pepperoni. If you can’t find them, this dish will work with most varieties of sausage.
8. Red cabbage & potato hash
Brighten up bubble & squeak with a flash of vibrant purple. This hash can be served at any time of day, set off by a slice of leftover ham or a couple of fried eggs.
9. Red cabbage salad
Blue cheese, bacon, sultanas…. three ingredients that team perfectly with cabbage. This salad is packed with lovely contrasting textures.
10. Detox salad
If you don’t fancy your cabbage cooked in a wintery fashion, serve it raw in a superhealthy ‘detox’ salad with radishes, parsley and apples. One for the 1st of January maybe…
Make the most of leftovers…
Cookery assistant, Chelsie Collins: ”Red cabbage goes so well in a sarnie, with roast beef and sausages!”
Food editor, Cassie Best: ”I make a hash with cooked red cabbage, ham, leftover roast potatoes and a fried egg.”
Watch our video on how to make leftover turkey slaw:
Is red cabbage a must for you during the festive season? How do you like to serve it? We have more suggestions in our recipe collection.